Payson — On June 4 2017 at approximately 10:31 a.m., the Gila County Sheriff’s Office received multiple 9-1-1 calls regarding a plane crash near the Payson Airport.
The aircraft had departed from Falcon Field in Mesa, traveling to Payson. The aircraft was carrying the pilot and one passenger. The pilot reported some issues on his initial approach and elected to circle around for a second attempt, in which the plane crashed before returning to the airport.
The aircraft started on fire and was extinguished due to the fast response of the Forest Service fire crew. The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted and the scene was turned over for their investigation.
The pilot was identified as David White, age 58, of Gilbert, and the passenger was identified as Derek White, age 56, of Florence. Both were able to exit the aircraft and were treated on scene for minor injuries.
Sheriff Shepherd said, “We are grateful for the successful outcome of an event that could have been tragic for the pilot and his brother, but also for the rapid response of the Forest Service extinguishing the fire before it spread to the forest during this extreme fire season.” Sheriff J. Adam Shepherd would like to thank the US Forest Service, Payson Police Department and the Payson Fire Department for their coordinating response.